UFO cult-sponsored Clonaid offers Hwang a job

Seoul, South Korea - An American cloning agency which claims to have cloned human beings announced yesterday (Jan 16) that it has offered to hire scientist Hwang Woo-suk, while government prosecutors stepped up their probe into the discredited scientist's work.

Clonaid was founded in 1997 by Rael, or Claude Vorhilon, the founder and self-appointed "spiritual leader" of the Raelian Movement, the world`s largest UFO-related organisation numbering 60,000 members in almost 100 countries.

"We at Clonaid, believe that Dr Hwang has cloned human embryos and has the knowledge to develop stem cell lines," announced Clonaid on its website, www.clonaid.com.

It continued to say that Hwang "has been discredited as he wasn't in line with what the political and religious powers of this world wanted regarding the cloning technology."

Clonaid has claimed since 2000 that it has "successfully given birth to five clone babies."

Brigitte Boisseler, a Raelian "priestess" and the head of Clonaid, announced in December 2002 that the company had cloned the first human baby, Eve. The scientific community was sceptical and many claimed it was a hoax.

Clonaid has a subsidiary in South Korea, BioFusion Tech Inc, which claimed in the summer of 2002 to have carried out a human cloning experiment, and that one of the three Korean women involved was pregnant with a cloned foetus.

After BioFusion's claim, Seoul prosecutors raided the Raelian Movement's Seoul office and BioFusion's headquarters in Daegu, and two Korean Raelian leaders were banned from travelling overseas in August 2002.

Clonaid has recruited clients who want to have cloned babies but has not revealed scientific data to support the claims. Clonaid also claims that human beings were created by aliens.

Rael claimed that "today's cloning technology is the first step in the quest for eternal life. Once we clone exact replicas of ourselves, the next step will be to transfer our memories and personality into our newly cloned brains, which will allow us to truly live forever."

Clonaid offers services to sterile couples, homosexual couples, HIV infected couples, or for those who "just lost a beloved family member and would like to see an identical twin of him/her live again."

Hwang was unavailable for comment on whether or not he will accept the offer.